BYU returns to action after a bye week to face its toughest test so far of the season as the team travels Saturday to Camp Randall Stadium to face No. 24 Wisconsin. This will be BYU's second trip in school history to Madison, with the Cougars beating the Badgers 28-3 in 1980.

However, there are some familiar faces on the Wisconsin sideline for BYU fans.

From head coach Gary Andersen and running back Melvin Gordon to linebacker Chris Borland, here is everything you need to know about Wisconsin.

Lafe Peavler is a sportswriter intern at the Deseret News.


Wisconsin's offense uses the old-school power running game to hit defenses in the mouth, and the Badgers have two of the best running backs in the country.

Gordon leads Wisconsin with 1,074 yards on 124 carries. That translates to 8.7 yards per carry. The 6-foot-1, 203-pound sophomore has explosive acceleration and blazing speed, and he excels at finding a hole and making big plays. If the BYU front seven miss a tackle, Gordon will make the Cougars pay.

But Gordon is far from alone. Senior White has 804 yards on the season, and, like Gordon, he averages more than 100 yards per game. The only other team in the nation to have two players in that category is BYU, with Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams.

With weapons like these, Wisconsin would be crazy not to depend on its solid running game.

However, BYU can't afford to ignore sophomore quarterback Joel Stave. While Stave's 1,630 passing yards place him at No. 63 in the nation, he is No. 26 in passing efficiency with a QB rating of 150.6. His favorite target is Jared Abbrederis, who has 782 yards and six touchdowns on the season. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, Abbrederis left last week's game against Iowa with a rib injury and it's still unclear whether he'll play against the Cougars, according to Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Wisconsin's defense is led by someone familiar to BYU. Former Utah State defense coordinator Dave Aranda followed Andersen to Wisconsin, and he's installed his tough 3-4 defense. So far it's working, as the Badgers are No. 6 in the nation in total defense.

However, linebacker Chris Borland has been out with a hamstring injury. Borland is a key leader of the Badger front seven, with 57 tackles and two sacks on the season. Fortunately for Wisconsin, Borland expects to play Saturday, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Regardless, BYU's running game will face a tough test, since the Badgers allow just 90.4 rushing yards per game, good enough for No. 5 in the nation.

Special teams

Wisconsin's kicking game has been an issue, as struggling kicker Kyle French was benched after the Badgers' win over Northwestern. French missed a 38-yard kick against the Wildcats and has been relieved of kicking duties ever since.

The current kicker is sophomore Jack Russell. However, Russell has yet to make a field goal so far this season, and he missed a 31-yard attempt against Tennessee Tech. Borland will handle kicks of 45 yards or longer, according to Tom Mulhern of So BYU can expect to see the Badgers go for it on fourth down rather than just kick a field goal.


Wisconsin's head coach is a man BYU knows all too well.

Andersen is in his first year at Madison after leading Utah State to a WAC title and the Aggies' first double-digit win season in school history. In 2010, Andersen also led Utah State to its first win over the Cougars since 1993. His last two games against BYU were both decided by just three points.

So, there's zero chance Wisconsin looks past BYU with Andersen on the sideline.

Andersen has been successful so far at his new job. The Badgers are ranked No. 24 in the BCS rankings, and they enter this game with a 6-2 record.


There's no question the Badgers will be BYU's toughest test so far this season. Wisconsin hasn't lost a non-conference game at home since UNLV stunned the Badgers 23-5 in 2003.

Wisconsin's rushing attack will test Kyle Van Noy and the BYU front seven to the core, while the Badger front seven will try BYU's potent rushing attack. A win over Wisconsin would launch the Cougars into the top 25 for the first time in more than a year. On the flip side, a win for Andersen's Badgers will help solidify Wisconsin's standing as an at-large team for a BCS bid.